United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff and prisoner Todd Carter is proceeding on claims
that prison staff violated his Eighth Amendment rights by
refusing to help him, either when he informed them he was
suicidal or when he intentionally overdosed on medication.
Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 21,
which is ready for review. I will grant the motion because
the undisputed evidence shows that none of the defendants
disregarded Carter's health or safety.
before the court is defendants' motion to extend the
deadline for conducting discovery and submitting pretrial
materials. Dkt. 32. In light of the decision on summary
judgment, I will deny that motion as moot.
did not dispute any of defendants' proposed findings of
fact, so I have treated defendants' properly supported
proposed findings of fact as undisputed.
time relevant to this case, Todd Carter was a prisoner housed
in segregation at the Columbia Correctional Institution,
which is in Portage, Wisconsin. On October 17, 2014, Bryan
Gerry, a correctional officer at the prison, went to
Carter's cell after another officer told Gerry that
Carter was refusing to close the trap in his cell door. When
Gerry arrived, Carter displayed his right hand to Gerry
(presumably through a window in the cell door), then moved
the hand to his mouth and “motioned liked he
swallowed.” Dkt. 28, ¶ 11. Carter yelled out that
he took 40 pills and that Gerry saw him do it.
had not seen any pills in Carter's hand and he did not
believe that Carter had swallowed any pills. Carter did not
tell Gerry at any time that he was feeling suicidal or that
he needed to see mental health staff.
directed Carter to come to the cell door. When Carter
refused, a lieutenant assembled a team to remove Carter from
the cell. Eventually, Carter agreed to comply with orders and
he walked to the dayroom with officers.
Carter alleged that he swallowed pills, defendant Kim
Campbell, a nurse at the prison, examined him. Gerry searched
Carter's cell, found one pill, and brought it to
Campbell, who identified it as Thorazine, one of Carter's
prescribed medications. Campbell noted that Carter was alert
and oriented. She did not observe anything abnormal.
discussed the situation with defendant Robert Vickrey, a
psychiatrist at the prison. At that point, Carter's vital
signs were “mildly elevated.” Id. at
¶ 26. (Medical records show that Carter's heart rate
was 100 beats per minute.) Vickrey ordered an
electrocardiogram (EKG) to measure Carter's “QT
(QTc) prolongation, ” which is an increase in the time
between the two phases of the heart's electrical cycle.
Overdosing on Thorazine could cause QT(QTc) prolongation,
which could lead to sudden cardiac failure. The EKG showed
that Carter's QT(QTc) prolongation was in the normal
range. Vickrey also observed that Carter was awake and able
to walk on his own, which is inconsistent with a Thorazine
light of the EKG result and these observations, Vickrey
concluded that Carter could be returned to his cell. Vickrey
directed staff to take Carter's vital signs again in two
hours. And Vickrey was aware of security policy that required
staff to monitor Carter every 15 minutes.
hours later, staff took Carter's vital signs, which
showed “low blood pressure and increased heart
rate.” Id. at ¶ 35. (Medical records show
that his blood pressure was 126/80 lying down, 118/79
sitting, and 86/50 standing. His pulse was 86 lying down, 124
sitting, 156 standing and 108 after a second check while
standing.) Vickrey directed staff to send Carter to the
hospital, Carter denied any fever, chills, vomiting,
diarrhea, chest pain, or nausea, but he complained of
“mild GI upset, ” and staff observed that he was
“extremely lethargic.” Dkt. 25-1, at 7. Hospital
test results indicated that Carter had ingested cocaine and
TCA, which is an ...